There are so many game animals to pursue in New Zealand - where should we begin? On the South Island, you can hunt big game animals including red stag, Himalayan tahr, chamois, Fallow deer, elk (Wapiti), Pacific (Alpine) goat, Arapawa ram, whitetail deer, and wild boar (pig). South Island small game and varmint include wallaby, hare, rabbit, and possum.
The North Island of New Zealand has additional big game available in Sika deer, Rusa deer, and Sambar deer.
There are many bird species to hunt between the two big islands (three if you count Stuart Island off the southern end of the South Island). New Zealand bird hunting includes Merriam's turkey, Paradise duck, Grey duck, quail, Shoveler duck, peacock, pheasant, Mallard duck, chukar, Black swan, Pukeko, and Canadian geese.
With so many choices and hunts available, many hunters arrive with a list of game species they'd like to pursue. Southern Hunting Adventures offers popular combo hunting packages or can tailor a hunt or multi-species safari for you.
We hunt different animals at different points in the calendar year. We get busier with big game hunting season in February (early NZ autumn) through July (winter). Red stag and Fallow deer can be hunted throughout this season, with the red deer roar in mid-March to mid-April. Bull tahr and chamois can also be hunted through the year, however their rut season, and when they have full winter capes, is May, June and July.
Both. We specialize in free-range and wilderness hunts - particularly when hunting tahr, chamois, fallow deer, representative red stag (not monster trophy stags), Arapawa rams, goats, turkeys, pigs, and small game. Most outfitters won't say it directly, but the huge red stags & elk are only available in New Zealand on private estates - they aren't just roaming the wilds (like in your dreams). The majority of these game properties on the South Island are set up entirely to provide amazing trophies in genuine and challenging hunting conditions. You're going to have a great hunt with us, regardless of the game you're after.
Yes. Generally, we spot-and-stalk hunt which is as challenging as it is fun. We don't use tree stands or hunt over feeders; archery shots will vary from 15-60 yards and will typically be up- or downhill a bit.
The areas around Central Otago, Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin, and Te Anau are full of sights, outdoor activities, shopping, restaurants, walks/hikes, wine tasting, and more! Generally, guests and non-hunters have as much fun as our hardworking hunters do!
We're very happy to help plan (and lead) travel activities for the non-hunters in your group.
If you are coming to New Zealand for a holiday, you are unlikely to need to apply for a visa before you arrive. If you plan to work or study in New Zealand however, even for a short time, you will need to apply for a visa.
Effective 1 July 2019, the New Zealand government is charging an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of $35.00 per person, payable upon arrival into New Zealand. This applies to most international visitors. You can see the details and what it's used for here.
Effective October 1 2019, some visitors can travel to New Zealand without a visa if they get an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before they travel. Please visit this link to obtain additional details and if necessary apply for your NZeTA.
If you're hunting with us and confused about visa stuff - just email our team!
Anything between a .243 and a .300 works well in New Zealand. If you would prefer using our guns over hauling your own, we ask that you let us know ahead of your arrival so that we can reserve a hunting rifle for you. We like bringing a 7mm or .308 with great scopes and suppressors into the field with us.
International hunters must first obtain a permit to bring any hunting firearms into New Zealand.
As part of obtaining the permit, you will be required to pay $25NZD application fee and apply for the permit at least one month (2 months is better) in advance of your visit. Your firearm must be on the approved firearms list for New Zealand and each hunter is allowed to bring four cases of ammunition.
Upon arrival, hunters are required to declare all firearms to New Zealand customs officials.
We can certainly send you all necessary paperwork well before you depart for New Zealand. Plan to pack only your rifle, though, as pistols are not allowed in New Zealand.
For those who would rather not travel with firearms, we have quality rifles and ammunition available for you at no additional cost. We typically require you to shoot at the range before beginning the hunt to ensure you are comfortable with our rifle and that you are shooting well with it. We like recommending this route as it makes your prep and packing far easier.
In general, New Zealand requires no licenses, fees or limited seasons for big game hunting. Once we know what species you're interested in - we can help sort any permitting required.
A license is required for waterfowl hunting and fishing. A one week fishing or bird license costs about $20 USD.
The weather on the South Island of New Zealand depends a lot on where exactly you are. For much of Central Otago and the nearby coasts, the weather can range from puffy-jacket-cold to shirtsleeves warm. If you're hunting during the autumn/early winter peak big game seasons, we can almost promise that you´ll experience a little bit of rain. Bring a bit of wet weather gear - just to be prepared.
Summer (December to February) might offer temperatures between 40-80°F (5 to 25°C).
Autumn (March through May) might be 30-70°F (0 to 21°C).
Winter (June to August) might be 20-60°F (-5 to 15°C).
Start with personal layers that will hold up well against any weather or the elements: merino or breathable synthetic tees, underwear, socks, and long underwear are perfect.
Bring supportive hunting boots with good grip/traction - but they'll need to be spotless to pass inspectors at the airport (New Zealand works hard to keep invasive species out).
Binoculars (10x, 12x, or 15x are great) are helpful for spotting game - your guide will have a spotting scope so you don't need to bring one. You can bring a rangefinder if you have one.
A daypack/medium backpack, water bottle, headlamp/flashlight, camera/phone, rain gear, hats, gloves, hunting clothes, and a versatile puffy jacket are all good bets. Sunglasses, gaiters (if winter tahr or chamois hunting), and any medications you need should round out the list.
We work hard to position hunters at distances and shots they are comfortable with. Often shots occur within 150 yards but please be comfortable and proficient at shooting up to 300 yards.
You can occasionally book last-minute or plan a few years ahead of your hunt. March and April is the red stag roar so if you'd like to hunt then - it's not a bad idea to contact us well in advance. Our guide team is talented and flexible so we're often able to accommodate short-notice hunting requests throughout the year.
This is a funny question, so send us a note and we can help to sort the travel logistics! From the United States, New Zealand is an overnight flight. Air New Zealand offers direct flights from Chicago and the West Coast to Auckland International Airport (North Island). From Auckland you will need to catch a short connecting flight (90 to 120 minutes) to Queenstown or Dunedin airports.
When you land in Auckland:
1. Land and deplane.
2. Proceed through Customs and Immigration with your completed Passenger Arrival Card that will be provided during your flight.
*Generally, passengers from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland and Netherlands can use the eGates for faster processing.
3. Proceed to baggage claim and the New Zealand Police counter to collect your gun (if you've traveled with a firearm).
4. Go through Biosecurity with your Passenger Arrival Card. Be certain that all of your hunting gear is clean to avoid fines or confiscation. Absolutely all food must be declared or you may have to discard it.
5. Follow the signs/green line (inter-terminal walkway) to the domestic terminal. It's a 10-minute walk or you can use the inter-terminal buses that depart every 15 minutes.
If you are bringing your firearm into the country, domestic flights require the removed bolt and ammunition to be in a bag separate from the firearm.
Please allow a minimum of 2 hours between your international flight and your domestic flight to Queenstown or Dunedin. Generally, there are regular flights on the hour if your connection is missed.
Most countries will allow you to bring meat home, certainly in the United States. Prepare to do an additional form or two at the airport when flying home and understand your country's requirements.
We will prepare your meat either chilled or frozen until you are ready to leave. If you plan to bring meat home we recommend bringing a small cooler with you that can fit inside your main bag, or you can take larger amounts up to 50 lbs as checked baggage.
A close friend of ours, a local (Queenstown) fourth-generation taxidermist, is likely the best taxidermist in New Zealand! We'll help you sort it.
Occasionally, it can be cost-efficient to have your hunting trophies mounted in your home country.